Start with One Thing


We all know the feeling…

Being overwhelmed.
Not knowing where to start.
Being paralyzed by fear.
Feeling like we’re juggling too many balls in the air.

In the #LeadershipMinute video above, I connect with my good friend, Shannon Miller, who addresses this issue in which we can all relate. Shannon is an incredible leader, a dynamic librarian, an advisor for Future Ready Librarians, and most importantly, an amazing person.

As you heard from Shannon, she simply recommends to “just start with one thing.” After all, isn’t that the only way possible?

It reminds me of the question, “How do you eat an elephant?” With a follow up response of, “One bite at a time.”

Whether you’re a teacher librarian, a principal, a classroom teacher, or a Superintendent, I can just about guarantee that you’re feeling like your plate is full. In fact, I can’t remember ever hearing from one of the above how they had so much time on their hands and they didn’t know how to spend it.

So what can we do if we’re feeling overwhelmed?

1. Take Inventory – What are those things that you have to do? What are those things that you’d like to do?

2. Set Priorities – Analyze the inventory and prioritize them from “non-negotiable” to “it would be nice to...”

3. Start with One Thing – Take what it is that you really want to do and find a way to start. Right now. Send an email. Order a needed resource. Have that conversation. Just start.

[No, seriously, go do it. Like, right now.]

4. Get Help – The prideful mindset believes they can do everything on their own. There are only so many hours in the day, and there are amazingly talented people out there besides you. Connect and get help.

5. Keep Moving Forward – Take the next steps. Keep going.

6. Celebrate the Small Wins – Take time to breathe while celebrating the small wins. Recognize large successes are a compilation and culmination of many small wins.

Whether it’s the fear of failure, too much care for what other people may think, or a paralysis from feeling overwhelmed… Just start. …and start with one thing.

So, what’s it for you? What is it that you’ve been wanting to move forward with, but haven’t yet? What’s your next step here? Why not take it today?

The pain of regret will be more difficult than the pain of failing forward and trying again.

The work is hard, but our kids are worth it. Together, we can do this.

All for the kids we serve,


Future Ready Schools® is a project of the Alliance for Excellent Education, my home organization, and is located in Washington, D.C.